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Official pardon long overdue for heroic court-martialled soldiers

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The President and Queen Elizabeth pay tribute to
Irish soldiers killed in WW1 and WW2 at the War
Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge

The President and Queen Elizabeth pay tribute to Irish soldiers killed in WW1 and WW2 at the War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge

The President and Queen Elizabeth pay tribute to Irish soldiers killed in WW1 and WW2 at the War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge

I am the author of 'Spitting On A Soldier's Grave', a book that revealed the story of the 4,983 soldiers who deserted the Irish Army to fight against fascism during World War Two.

After the war, the Irish government illegally court-martialled these men, in absentia, without trial or the right of reply, contrary to all the rules of natural justice and the tenets of the Irish Constitution. The government publicly vilified these Irish soldiers for the 'crime' of fighting against the Nazis. They even court-martialled the dead men -- men like Joseph Mullally from Westmeath, who died on the beaches of Normandy liberating Europe on June 6, 1944.

Now, Peter Mulvany has started a public campaign to have these men pardoned. A petition will be launched outside Dail Eireann at midday on June 30.

The so-called deserters fought to secure the freedoms and democratic rights that we enjoy today. There are only a very few of these brave men left alive now. They ask nothing of us except to be allowed to live the rest of their lives honourably, free from the stigma of the court martial.

Please repay them now by signing the petition and writing to An Taoiseach to voice your support.

Robert Widders

Bristol, England

Irish Independent